Why New Systems Fail: Theory and Practice Collide
This is a good look at why a lot of IT projects and implementations don’t deliver. The author is a consultant specializing in ERP, and he details a litany of disastrous project implementations and what went wrong.
The book is more of a guide to implementations. It almost details failure causes secondarily, but it becomes more and more clear as the book goes on what happens and why things go wrong.
A lot of failures have to do with legacy functionality that needed to be carried over, and bad data that couldn’t support a new system. Alongside that are smaller causes, like bad actors and bad consultants.
The author makes a good point that projects can fail by degrees: they can totally fail (which means they never implement), or they can fail to meet their implementation numbers, or they can just fail to deliver on what they promised.
The writing can be a bit awkward, and the author has a tendency to insert himself in the book perhaps unnecessarily. Additionally, it’s focused very heavily around IT, and it left me wondering how transferable those lessons were to other projects.
Still, a good look at reasons why IT projects have a reputation for not delivering on their claims.